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Vietnam accomodation - surrender passport?

Travel Forums Asia Vietnam accomodation - surrender passport?

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1. Posted by Budai (Respected Member 506 posts) 7y

It says that "passports are almost always required on arrival" in LP, and that "at the very least you should hand over a photocopy of passport, departure card etc".

Is this true?

Do i have to surrender my passport for the length of my stay or do they just want to have a look so they can register my particulars?

I will be staying in budget accomodation ie guesthouses and hostels, and from my experience in SEA, they never even want to look at your passport? Much less keep it??

Like some other folks here, i have serious reservations about handing my passport over for "safekeeping", and hopefully this can be avoided?

Thanks!

2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1992 posts) 7y

Have you never been in Europe? Many nations require tourists to be registered with the police. Hotels keep the passports in a safe place, and many will take a photocopy. It's no big deal at all.

3. Posted by Budai (Respected Member 506 posts) 7y

Nope, i understand that, but just that, here in Southeast Asia, its a bit of a peculiarity to want to hold on to someone's passport, especially for the cheaper "hotels"... I see you've been to (are in?) Vietnam, so is it also the practise there to do so? thanks...

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4808 posts) 7y

Quoting Daawgon

It's no big deal at all.

It is a big deal. For example, Dutch passports contain the equivalent of a social security number. Dutch privacy law is very strict about handling any sort of identifying number, and thus explicitly doesn't allow hotels to copy this information (or even to make a photocopy of the passport at all, as that'd contain said number), as having this number isn't necessary to check that the customer is who he says he is. (Hotels may ask for the passport, but only to check that the name of the customer is identical to what's been given.)
It's very disconcerting when you're used to strict protection of privacy like that to suddenly be confronted with the way other countries show a near complete disregard for such matters. More, it's often very hard as a tourist to know what the actual law is, and if the hotel isn't going far beyond what's required of it. (I know the details about what Dutch hotels may and may not ask for because a year ago the Dutch privacy watchdog cracked down on Dutch hotels which were copying passports anyway.)

Additionally, passports usually aren't the "property" of individual people, but of the state. As such, you have a requirement to take good care of it - and giving this to the owner of a dodgy guesthouse often will feel like the very opposite.


All that as an aside to Daawgon. I'm afraid I have no actual experience with the situation in Vietnam...

5. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru 664 posts) 7y

We are British and were asked all the time by guesthouses/hostels in Vietnam to leave our passports with them for the duration of our stay. We refused as we have always been told not to surrender our passports to anyone but Immigration officials.

We simply told the guesthouses that we realised they had to report to the government who was staying there but we were not happy doing this, if they wanted our passport they could either take a copy or we would stay somewhere else. Everytime the guesthouse backed down and took a copy.

As Sander says, your passport does not belong to you, it belongs to your government. When we got our passport renewed here in Asia, our consul told us never to surrender it and that we should allow nothing apart from official immigration stamps to be put in it...he even said the Thai practice of stapling your departure card into the passport was against 'the rules' and we should object. Personally we are not in the habit of arguing with Immigration officers but will happily argue with guesthouse owners...who knows how safe your passport will be or whether there is a side-line of forging passports from guests of that particular place! Your passport is your only record of being in that country legally, do not give it up to anyone!

6. Posted by travelolic (Full Member 12 posts) 7y

The cheep hotels in Vietnam usually keep your passport.
There is only 1 reason. The hotel offer cheep price for room and they expect (may be more than expectation) the customer will use some of their services (eg; laundy, drinks, tours - those may not cheep) to cover the hotel cost. Besides, some of the customers had used their services and disapear without a word. That's why they keep your passport as a deposit for these cases. Register process take only 1 min for them to insert the police from
Cheers & Happy Travel!

7. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 7y

Quoting Sander

Quoting Daawgon

It's no big deal at all.

Additionally, passports usually aren't the "property" of individual people, but of the state. As such, you have a requirement to take good care of it - and giving this to the owner of a dodgy guesthouse often will feel like the very opposite.

Its is a big deal. I really think its disrespectful for any establishment to demand my passport. Its either IGNORANCE or Arrogance. I once snap at a bitchy condominium receptionist who demanded Korean tourist to surrender their passports to enter a condominium unit to visit a friend. Obviously these creatures never travelled and will be able to so in this life or the next.

Also in Penang, I lost my money, so I told the guy, that I'll just go to my hostel to get some cash. He immediately ask me to leave my passport. I said no twice and he keep on his insisting... SO I GAVE HIM A LECTURE on the nature of passports and that he doesn't have f right to even ask me to show it to him. A passport is not a school ID. It is the property of our government. I met a Filipino in the Streets of Khaosan, he was crying, because the Thai police got his passport and gave it to a Thai local who accuse him of stealing a digital camera. The logic is that the Thai local will go to the Philippine embassy to file for a complain. WHAT??? and the guy said he was in the police station when he surrendered his passport. He asked what would I do if the police me to surrender my passport. I will tell them to F off!

8. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 7y

Quoting travelolic

The cheep hotels in Vietnam usually keep your passport.
There is only 1 reason. The hotel offer cheep price for room and they expect (may be more than expectation) the customer will use some of their services (eg; laundy, drinks, tours - those may not cheep) to cover the hotel cost. Besides, some of the customers had used their services and disapear without a word. That's why they keep your passport as a deposit for these cases. Register process take only 1 min for them to insert the police from
Cheers & Happy Travel!

I would never trust those "boys" that work in hotels in Hanoi. Its ussually boys with very bad fashion sense. Hanoi, old quarters is like a giant travel agency and it seem like everyone wants to make money, selling passports may be on the list. I'm just saying be very careful, those hotels don't even have managers. I have seen backpackers being beaten up by the three young boys that manage the hotel that I stayed. I left because I think they look like the bad guys in some Asian martial arts movie. I had to be very friendly with the boys in my next hotel. But I didn't buy my tickets from them.

Its just that I met some strange looking characters in Hanoi, both boys and girls... They have the words SCAM in their forehead. I am not saying all of hanoi is that. Vietnam is the only country in southeast that offered me jobs, so I'm not going to hate it that much.

9. Posted by alfiedo (First Time Poster 1 posts) 7y

Quoting Swept Away

Quoting travelolic

The cheep hotels in Vietnam usually keep your passport.
There is only 1 reason. The hotel offer cheep price for room and they expect (may be more than expectation) the customer will use some of their services (eg; laundy, drinks, tours - those may not cheep) to cover the hotel cost. Besides, some of the customers had used their services and disapear without a word. That's why they keep your passport as a deposit for these cases. Register process take only 1 min for them to insert the police from
Cheers & Happy Travel!

I would never trust those "boys" that work in hotels in Hanoi. Its ussually boys with very bad fashion sense. Hanoi, old quarters is like a giant travel agency and it seem like everyone wants to make money, selling passports may be on the list. I'm just saying be very careful, those hotels don't even have managers. I have seen backpackers being beaten up by the three young boys that manage the hotel that I stayed. I left because I think they look like the bad guys in some Asian martial arts movie. I had to be very friendly with the boys in my next hotel. But I didn't buy my tickets from them.

Its just that I met some strange looking characters in Hanoi, both boys and girls... They have the words SCAM in their forehead. I am not saying all of hanoi is that. Vietnam is the only country in southeast that offered me jobs, so I'm not going to hate it that much.

Dear Swept
It look like you never get the true thing in Vietnam...
The Vietnamese law in hospitality ask everybody who c/in the hotel, hostel... show their ID or passport. That’s why almost hotel have to ask you. However, the big hotel (3 star up) just borrow your passport maximum 10 minutes or checking only. They’ve had a internet connection with police…
Try to make a booking with big system. It’s easy for you.;)
Have fun
Alfie

10. Posted by Budai (Respected Member 506 posts) 7y

Thanks for the replies. I'll hope they take photocopies then...